Two galleries in Dorset County Museum, Dorchester, have begun to see “dramatic changes” this week as the venue prepares for the arrival of Dippy the Diplodocus.
The Natural History Museum’s famous dinosaur skeleton will be on display in Dorchester from February 10-May 8, 2018, at the start of a nationwide tour.
Dorset County Museum (pictured) said artefacts from the Victorian Hall and the Dorchester Gallery will be cleared, catalogued and stored to allow space for visitors to view the replica skeleton.
Jon Murden, Dorset County Museum director, said: “This is going to be a major exercise in preparing the space for Dippy.
“Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure will be the last temporary exhibition to be hosted by us before we close certain sections of the galleries to begin the major redevelopment of the museum, which will be completed in 2020.”
He added: “As the birthplace of palaeontology, there is nowhere in the UK more appropriate for Dippy to start the tour than Dorset, and we’re thrilled to have been chosen as the first host venue.
“There are connections to be made between our internationally significant fossil collections and current coastal management, and therefore we’re delighted to be working in partnership on this tour with the Jurassic Coast Team and Trust.”
The full skeleton is 26 metres long, 4.3 metres wide and 4.17 metres high.
Conservators have spent the past 12 months preparing the delicate plaster-of-Paris cast for its journey.
In summer 2017 Hope, a diving Blue Whale skeleton, replaced Dippy in the Hintze Hall of the Natural History Museum in London.
Sir Michael Dixon, Natural History Museum director, said: “Making iconic items accessible to as many people as possible is at the heart of what museums give to the nation.
“We wanted Dippy to visit unusual locations so he can draw in people who may not traditionally visit a museum.
“We look forward to inspiring five million people to discover the wonders of natural history, encouraging children across the country to develop a passion for science and nature.”
After Dorset County Museum, Dippy will move to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (May 26-September 9); Ulster Museum in Belfast (September 28-January 6, 2019); Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow (January 22-May 5, 2019); Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle-upon-Tyne (May 18-October 6, 2019); National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff (October 19, 2019-January 26, 2020); Number One Riverside in Rochdale (February 10-June 20, 2020); and finally Norwich Cathedral (July 11-October 31, 2020).
Picture of Dorset County Museum: Chloe Kembery/Natural History Museum